Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) promised to ensure that the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, vacates his position, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has said.
Mr Wike stated this on Thursday while commissioning the Ahoada Campus of the Rivers State University in the Ahoada East local government area.
He was reacting to the resignation of Walid Jibril who stepped aside as the chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees (BoT) over lopsided positions in the party where himself, the presidential candidate and the national chairman are all from the Northern region.
Mr Wike says both Mr Ayu and Abubakar agreed to compromise should a Northerner emerge candidate of the party for the 2023 presidential race.
The Rivers State governor who rejected Jibril’s resignation, maintaining that the national chairman must be booted out, recalled how the former vice president told him in person that Mr Ayu must go after emerging the party’s candidate, an agreement Messrs Ayu and Abubakar has now refused to adhere to.
“When we finished our convention on a Saturday to Sunday, the candidate of the party (Atiku) came to see me in my house in Abuja on Monday around 10:30am…The candidate told me: ‘I want us to work together’ and then he said, ‘Look, Ayu must go’,” the governor recalled.
“I said why? He said because when a candidate comes from the north, the chairman will come from the south. And I am saying, implement what you told me. What offence have I committed? It has nothing to do with Wike; it has to do with integrity.
“I challenge the presidential candidate to deny this. If he denies this, I will go further to say so many things to Nigerians because enough is enough,” he dared.
Demand not due to loss of presidential ticket
Mr Wike also responded to remarks of former Niger State governor, Aliyu Babangida, that he was demanding the resignation of Ayu because of his loss at the presidential primary.
“In a contest, there must be a winner, there must be a loser. I have no regrets. We contested election very well and we are not ashamed,” Wike said. “When the North-Central met in the house of Governor Bala Mohammed, governor of Bauchi State, he (Ayu) said so there. When the he met the caucus of the Senate, he told them that.
“They have today told the BoT chairman to resign. Who is talking about the chairman of BoT? What is the role of the BoT? BoT is an advisory body. We have never zoned BoT. BoT is an advisory body; BoT is not a decision-making body.
“Those who run (the party) as it is today is the presidential candidate and the chairman of the party. The chairman of the party and the candidate or the President as the case may be are the ones that take decisions.
“The candidate is from the north, the chairman is from the north. Who will represent the south in the decision-making of the party? You have taken the candidate of the party. Yes, we have agreed. You can’t take the two major positions of a party. You cannot,” he added.